ADA or ardor A Family Chronicle
Liity LibraryThingin jäseneksi, niin voit kirjoittaa viestin.
Tämä viestiketju on "uinuva" —viimeisin viesti on vanhempi kuin 90 päivää. Ryhmä "virkoaa", kun lähetät vastauksen.
"Marginal jotting in Ada's 1965 hand"
is this a typo, I though i was in the 1800's.
What exactly is he accomplishing by doing this ?
I have enough trouble with english with out dragging in foreign lanquages.
I was afraid of that.
where exactly am i in the beginning of the book, i mean location ?
What is Estoty and Canady ?
The story takes place not on Earth but on a world called Antiterra, with a history that is different at various points. North America is mostly a part of Russia, for example, and electricity has been banned nearly since its discovery, so that airplanes and cars exist, but television and telephones (as we know them) do not. The setting is thus a complex mixture of Russia and America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Furthermore, our Earth, the real world, is a widely believed in as a sort of fringe religion or mass hallucination.
From Ada online:
"Russian" Estoty: Estotiland was a name given by early explorers to the northeastern part of North America, now northeast Labrador. Old mapmakers let it stretch as far north as their conjectured coastline ventured. Cf. John Milton, Paradise Lost, X.686: "From cold Estotiland." "Estotiland" is listed, along with Eden and Arcadia, under the heading "utopia, paradise, heaven, heaven on earth" in Roget's International Thesaurus (New York: Crowell, 1962). "'Russian' Estoty" may contain an echo of "Russian" Estonia.
"Russian" Canady: another echo of Russia's nineteenth-century settlement of Alaska; on Antiterra, Canada (spelt "Canady" perhaps to avoid a superfluous "ada") seems only a region of the United States, and has a substantial Russian component.
My best suggestion, in general, is to just sort of go with the flow while reading. The notes in the back by Vivan Darkbloom are meant to be read as well - I don't know if you know but it's an anagram of Vladimir Nabokov and part of the novel.
ETA: re location at the beginning of the book. Admittedly my memory is not what it once was, but I believe you are in somewhat New Englandy territory. Someplace where "Ada" and "ardor" are homophones.
thanks for the link to ADA online, very helpfull.
I did know that Vivian Darkbloom was an anagram for Nabokov.
He is making you work, as well he should. Reading Nabokov isn't a cakewalk. He wants you to be his ideal reader - his "little Nabokov" - - which, ideally, means tri-lingual, clever, and more than a little narcissistic.
now why would a narcissistic person want someone else to be the same ?
So many reflections of perfection. A feast of intelligence, good bearing, wit, manners, pedigree...and just think of the chess games!
Unfair, I say. You need to figure this out. It's not too easy. (For that matter, not a few reviewers missed one of the central *points* of the book, taking the very nicely printed "family tree" as the actual relationships between people.)
The Vivian Darkbloom part wasn't included in the earliest editions, I think
Nabokov on language is a great topic, but the French at least is simple, I think—educated people know French. This is obviously the point of view of the main characters—for whom, as I remember, the prospect that someone might not be French/English/Russian trilingual is scary. But I suspect Nabokov agreed. His "obscurity" is, in my opinion, about lifting you up and getting what you can, not tearing you down. But French was not unfamiliar to 1960s readers of serious literary fiction.
>He is making you work, as well he should...
Agreed and not. The first few chapters are intentionally much harder than the rest. He wants you to get what you can, and to have a great deal more going on than you can see immediately and without effort.
I like the 'lifting up' - you must be an optimist. With Nabokov, when his hand is offered I can assume a kiss but expect a tweak - and I've felt the tweak more keenly (and often).
But, oh, those kisses!
Keep in mind that Nabokov's native tongue wasn't English (it was Russian). He also learned French as a very young boy. If I remember correctly, English was the third language he learned.
With that in mind, it doesn't seem so odd to see French or Russian in his English language work (by that I mean those that were originaly written in English, and not his earlier work that was translated from the original Russian).
I might, if it weren't for the Frenchman, and if it were limited to novels.
Nabokov's linguistic trifecta results in a refined, precise tongue: I suspect that he filters his English through his Russian and then runs it all through a finely meshed French sieve.
My impression is that it extends beyond just the three countries that he lived in.
Re Nabokov's language skills and the order of learning. He spoke English first, Russian began when he was about 5, not sure where French came in exactly but if you peruse or preferably thoroughly read Speak, Memory you will find the correct order.
"All happy families are more or less dissimilar, all unhappy ones are more or less alike..."
The first line in
Anna Karenina is
'All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'
What is going on here ?
No-one can walk you through Ada, we'd get lost ourselves re-tracing our steps. That's what makes it so exciting.
You are making me want to re-read it, though...
But blue is hotter, yes.
So i am taking a break from ADA, while i get lost in
30LucetteVeen Ensimmäinen viesti
sorry for the strange english, being french i'm not acing it!
Ma chere, si agréable de recevoir des nouvelles de vous, ma pauvre soeur. Pourquoi prenez-vous le nom de cet enfant condamné malade ?
(Et maintenant il est je qui dois s'excuser, comme je parle le français très faiblement.)
There is so much going on, where does one start to work it out? Since message #30's author has taken her name, what about Lucette? enevada, you described her as "condamne," doomed, and, yes it seems that way. She never had a chance. Why did Ada seduce her? Any thoughts, anyone? That made it worse for Lucette, didn't it?
Van, having drunk from the stream of Ada, is not quite so foolish, so ego-bound, to think that either he or his writing supercedes Ada or life itself. Hooray for Van, bad piece of luck for Lucette.
Does Ada seduce Lucette? Again, I think of Ada as a stream and Lucette as a pretty little plant, unfortunate in its placement.
Or, to put it another way, the point isn't that the world is so wonderful, or that the world is so horrible, but that it's so wonderful and horrible at the same time.
Sweet little Mother Time - she breaks mine.
Yes. VN expresses this seamlessly.
enevada, don't you account for Ada's need for Van? It is not one-sided, but you have characterized the relationship as worshiper and worshipee. While there is definitely an element of that: Ada is clearly on Van's pedestal, but I think the relationship is more symbiotic.
I don't think Van worships Ada - she sustains him. I have always seen Ada as a free agent - she belongs to no-one, indifferent (but not callous) to all - something akin to the indifference of nature to man.
Re your comment that Ada is a free agent, indifferent: So, does Ada respond to Van simply because he's there and wants her? She does not "need" Van?
That's an interesting comparison: Ada as nature's indifference to man. I'll have to think about that.
And, yes, Van goes through some Vronsky-ish cad behavior (in his transformation from egoist to artist) before he realizes this and then settles down and gets to work.
This is just my reading - each reader has their own version of events. Some are more interesting than others, but they all stand on their own.
I agree that Ada never would've thrown herself under a train. I don't know what VN had to say about Anna K, but I don't see Ada as having the same problems. In fact Van was the one to attempt suicide over the situation. I'm not sure I agree about Ada needing no one. A few things lend support to that view: 1) Ada was quite an unconventional woman, and even though men were desperate to be with her, the only one that really understood her and from whom she had nothing to hide was Van. Ada does suffer loneliness in his absence; 2) As a wealthy, brilliant, desirable woman who was not bound by her family to conventional mores, Ada was in a position to do absolutely anything she wanted to, and she chose to spend years nursing a husband who seemed quite unequal to her. Why? What need was she satisfying?; 3) her seduction of Lucette - and I do see it as a seduction, Lucette was easy prey, there was every reason in the world to avoid that particular liaison, especially in light of Lucette's vulnerability. What need was she satisfying there?
Just a thought. Back to Hayek. *sigh*
Are you familiar with Brian Boyd? If not, you'll want to be. I like this article for its depiction of Lucette as yet another tragic maiden of the marsh - while Ada is both celestial (Venus) and earthy (peat).
Read it, and see if it answers some of the questions you pose here. Quite possibly, it will only lead to more questions, but it is worth a shot.
Her one genuine act of self-less love was her fidelity and care to her husband - which suggests to me that she is the only Veen - perhaps the only character in the book - who is capable of acting without self-interest in mind. She transcends the bind of ego - as does Van, eventually and with tremendous assistance from Ada, in his writing.
Poor Lucette is incapable of this, and takes the most egotistical route of all: suicide.
I was puzzled by Ada's marriage, staying with Andreey. I wonder if it was a self-imposed penance. Selfless love doesn't fit. Both she and Van take what they want, no hesitation, no qualms. Both blessed with healthy egos (like their parents) they go where they want and let the chips fall where they may. They don't have to clean up after themselves, so they're rather reckless. So maybe she feels (delayed) guilt over her actions, over Lucette, over the incest.
Speaking of incest, why is it that you think they did not allow their familial relationship to stop them? Would it have happened if they'd grown up together instead of meeting as teenagers?
This doesn't make them evil, in my mind, but fully human. They embrace the fecundity of life without apology.
The important thing is: the humour. Even in the first paragraph of the whole novel Nabokov turns the beginning of Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" on its head, mocks the inadequacy of many translations into English (how can a woman possibly be "Arkadievich"?) and introduces spoof translations such as "fatherland" for "otrochestvo" which means "adolescence" ("otechestvo" is fatherland). This is a novel for people who, as with James Joyce, have a knowledge of several languages, styles, and so on. It is steeped in irony.
The French is there because the aristocracy in Russia used to speak that language, and Nabokov too spoke it pretty well (being of noble birth). Nabokov also lived in Germany for a while and spoke German. And he studied in England.
So if you want to read "Ada", a knowledge of some Russian and French helps you enjoy it more. It makes "Pnin" look like a book for children.
I think I'm going to pick that quote up for the blog... However, in this context, it might be worth saying "in antiterra or terra."
Pnin is much more complex than it seems at first. It's got structural complexities that really make the head spin, and to do that without seeming complex strikes me as the greater feat.
I like that. Of course no one will get it, but who cares? People should read more Nabokov. It's easy to see why he's not on many high school reading lists.
enevada, I've been mulling over your "They embrace the fecundity of life without apology." First thing I thought of was how ironic, considering Van's sterility. The next time I read Ada I am going to be more conscious of Eden/Adam/Eve parallels. Adam and Eve had only each other. Ada and Van were not shamed through tasting the Tree of Knowledge. In fact, their lack of shame makes the relationship much easier for the reader to accept. I've been thinking about the devices VVN (as enevada calls him) used to draw us into this subject without disgusting us.
Note re Darkbloom annotations for those who have not read Ada: Nabokov added them in 1970, a year after its publication. ph/j has a 1969 edition with no annotations, but I think any recent publication will have them.
In "Pnin", apart from the rather melancholy life of the protagonist, you have plenty of humour where the Russian emigrés murder the English language in their own inimitable way. I know some Russian, so I can appreciate some of the jokes. But Nabokov is kind enough to explain, sometimes in brackets, what the joke is.
What I like about Nabokov is that he combines erudition with a wacky sense of humour - and kindness, rather than snobbery. Some learnèd authors try to blind you with science and knowledge. Nabokov is aware that not everyone has read "Anna Karenina" or knows that the words of "adolescence" and "fatherland" resemble one another in Russian. So his anagrammatic spoof scholar at the back of "Ada" helps us a great deal.
Nabokov's genius was that he learned enough of the English language to understand what we English-speakers don't know about Russia. So he knew where and when to explain.
He´s often the victim of a reverse snobbery.
Other times, he´s being appropriated by pedants trying to use N´s erudition in the service of a more conventional snobbery.
But that´s the problem of these readers, not the problem of the work.
To bring Brian Boyd up again, Nabokov's Ada: The Place of Consciousness is excellent. Not sure where I found a hardcopy but seek it out if you enjoyed this book.
Pnin impressed me in a way other works by Nabokov haven't. Whoever made the comment about the loathesome characters, Pnin then is your man...
Wasn't Ada composed in Switzerland? Perhaps that accounts somewhat for the increased use of French, being in contact with it again...it's also interesting to note that Nabokov's grave states "écrivain" underneath his name.